Saint Thyagaraja revolutionized the Carnatic Music during the 18th and 19th centuries. Carnatic music is a unique and distinct style of classical music predominant in the southern region in India. This style of music is based on unique ‘ragas and thalas’ (musical notes) like all other forms of Indian classical music. Carnatic music was performed in praise of several Hindu deities, and later it included singing the glory of great kingdoms and beautifully portrays the Bhakti (devotion) and Sringara (love) through the music.
Saint Thyagaraja (1767 – 1847 AD) was the most celebrated Carnatic Music Saint, Poet and Composer and is regarded as one-third of the trinity of Carnatic composers. Two of his contemporaries also gained equal fame along with him in that era. They were Shyama Shastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar. It is said that he regarded music as a meditation on the primordial sound. The greatness of Sri Thyagaraja is exemplified by the way he linked the human to the divine.
Thyagaraja was inclined towards music from an early age. He was greatly influenced by the great Indian epic Ramayana and the Hindu deity Lord Ram and composed thousands of compositions in his native language Telugu, on Lord Ram. Saint Thyagaraja is regarded as a global icon for his contributions to Carnatic music even till date. His birthday is celebrated every year across the globe as Thyagaraja Aradhana or festival, as a mark of respect and thanksgiving - in honour of this great Saint and musical prodigy of all times. Many professionals, musicians and scholars of Carnatic music gather to perform music and is watched by millions of fervent fans of Indian classical music. To pay a common homage to the saint, five pancharathna kritis, (known as the five gems composed by Saint Thyagaraja) are selected and sung by all the musicians.
On this day, musicians, dancers and percussionists gather from all over the U.K. to participate, perform and render a musical tribute to commemorate the great saint’s contribution to Carnatic Music.
The Birmingham Thyagaraja Festival is the annual music festival organised by ShruthiUK, a South Asian Arts organisation established in 2005 and now based in Birmingham, West Midlands.
This festival is a musical tribute to the great composer and poet. It demonstrates how India's cultural history enriches people’s everyday lives through the arts, its rich history, mythology and traditions, diverse languages, architecture and music and dance through the art of storytelling, a festival that brings the entire country and communities together through the Indian music and dance. It provides a cultural exchange of knowledge, experience, and awareness of the rich cultural traditions for all those who perform at the festival and to the wider audience. It is a festival that as much one of a social evolution – a journey towards equality achieved through the rich Indian classical art forms. And that is what makes it worth celebrating
The festival, in its 8th year, is the flagship nationwide festival of South Indian Classical Music and Dance being held in the Midlands. This is a celebration of musicians and dancers from across the UK and abroad to gather, participate and pay homage to the birth of the great Singing Saint and Composer Thyagaraja.
The BTF is a humble musical tribute to the great South Indian composer and poet Thyagaraja.
It also provides a great platform for all upcoming musicians, children and young adults to showcase their talent. Some consider it a blessing to perform at this festival with the belief that they would be able to pursue their musical learning.
The festival aims to promote positivity, appreciating a different culture, discipline and wellbeing through the vibrant Indian Culture and create great awareness of this rich and diverse style of music to the community and value to create a great learning experience.
The BTF particularly strives towards inspiring and encouraging the next generation of Indian Classical musicians and dancers as role models and ambassadors to preserve and sustain the rich cultural heritage. Furthermore, it aims at children and young people in a bid to inspire and encourage them to consider a career in performing arts, regardless of all differences.
Thus, resulting in serving the cultural and creative sector to make a substantial contribution to the quality of life and its economy across the Midlands and also the UK through the Indian Classical art forms.
The festival has a day full of events planned out for both the children and the older people. Children and older people clad in traditional and ethnic Indian outfits in vibrant colours gather at the venue from all cross the U.K.
The festival will bring together top notch and finest musicians and dancers from all across the UK and elsewhere; this is an Indian classical festival of music and dance aimed for all music and art lovers from diverse communities to experience the rich and vibrant Indian cultural heritage.
The compositions of Thyagaraja make the largest contribution to our knowledge of Carnatic music today. In volume and variety, no other composer has given us so much material covering so wide a range of ragas, their lakshanas (attributes), that even by those with limited music knowledge can attempt to sing.
Aspiration is human. Grace is divine. Sangeetha (music) and bhakthi (devotion) should be acquired and practiced with humility.
The Birmingham Thyagaraja Festival, in its 9th year, is the flagship annual global festival of Indian Classical /Folk Music and Dance being held in the Midlands. The fBTF is organised by ShruthiUK , a South Asian Arts organisation established in 2005 and now based in Birmingham, West Midlands.
This is a celebration of musicians and dancers from across the UK and abroad to gather, participate and pay homage to the birth of the great Singing Saint and Composer Thyagaraja. Thyagaraja Festival is one of the most popular and unique Annual South Asian Classical Music Festival celebrated all over the world to honour and pay homage to the great Singing Saint & Composer Thyagaraja.
His Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands
Mayor of Solihull
Combined Mayor of the West Midlands
Chief Executive Officer, and Secretary General, UNESCO UK
Her Majesty's Former Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands, Patron, ShruthiUK
Consul General of India in Birmingham
Director, The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Birmingham City University
The UK National Commission for UNESCO is delighted to be able to support the Birmingham Thyagaraja Festival, (BTF), now in its 8th year! The festival brings together musicians and dancers from all over the country in celebration, providing a vital and inspiring exchange of cultural knowledge and tradition. The Commission wishes the festival every success this year, and in the years to come."
The festival showcases local talents and young people performing Indian classical music and dance, as well as including panel discussions exploring the various forms of music and dances of India. This celebratory event supports inclusive social development, fostering intercultural dialogue, protects, promotes, and transmits heritage, and fosters creativity and the diversity of cultural expressions.
“ The festival has received patronage from UNESCO-UK and is being supported by several local institutions as well as businesses from right across the UK and indeed around the world. This cultural collaboration brings together the British Indian community from around the Midlands and the wider UK as well as supporting the strengthening of the longstanding links between Britain and India. I am pleased to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to Shruthi UK and the BTF Team for a successful Thyagaraja festival.”
Andy Street, Combined Mayor of the West Midlands,.
The 8th annual Birmingham Thyagaraja organized by ShruthiUK is a musical tribute to the great South Indian Singing Saint and composer Thyagaraja ji.The Nehru Centre is delighted to support the festival which features Indian classical and folk arts professionals and young people from across the globe who gather to offer a humble musical tribute. I send my best wishes to the festival organisers.' Mr.Amish Tripathi, Minister (Culture), Indian High Commission, UK & Director, Nehru Centre, London
The festival celebrates which celebrates south indian classical music has become very popular over the years..
This is specially a very important year for india as we are celebrating 75 years of India's independence .and the festival like the Birmingham Thyagaraja Festival adds a flavour to the celebrations.I extend my warm wishes to the organisers and to the audience who will join us to cultural heritage of India. Dr.Shashank Vikram, IFS,